If you ski, skateboard, or ride your bike to work each day, chances are you do so while wearing a helmet. Most helmets are made from polystyrene, a type of Styrofoam that’s tucked inside a plastic shell. While it’s better than leaving your gray matter exposed to the elements, these petroleum-based materials often shatter upon impact, a disconcerting revelation of their weakness.
You probably wouldn’t believe me if I said that wrapping your head in a cardboard box would actually be better protection, so I’ll prove it instead. Introducing Kranium, a helmet made from corrugated cardboard. Created by design student Anirudha Surabhi, the Kranium has been shown to be four times stronger than convention helmets, while also lighter and more environmentally friendly.
Surabhi’s design features a lattice of corrugated cardboard that’s inserted into a plastic shell that looks very much like conventional helmets. The cardboard is treated with a waterproof acrylic compound that renders the paper material impervious to rain or sweat.
According to Wired, Kranium “absorbs four times more impact energy that the polystyrene equivalent, and — unlike regular helmets which break on impact — it survives longer. One Kranium was smashed five times in a row and still passed the British Standard (EN 1078) test.”
And if that kind of brain protection doesn’t get you excited, maybe this will: because Kranium is made from such readily available, inexpensive material, it’s possible for each helmet to be custom fitted to the wearer’s head. No more fussing with additional velcro padding in an attempt to get a snug-but-not-painful fit! Once the cardboard is sized, the wearer can pick an outer shell depending on the color and style they want.
Unlike most student designs, this one has already been licensed by some major manufacturers. Look for it to be available soon!